Activist says Muchdi case file evidence Munir murder a gross human rights violation

Source – March 16, 2024
Suciwati at National Human Rights Commission offices in Jakarta – March 12, 2023 (Kompas)

Dani Prabowo, Jakarta – The criminal case files on a defendant in the 2004 murder of renowned human rights activist Munir Said Talib, former State Intelligence Agency (BIN) Deputy Muchdi Purwoprandjono or Muchdi PR, are considered to be enough evidence to declare the Munir's murder as a gross human rights violation.

This was conveyed by former Munir Fact Finding Team (TPF) member Usman Hamid when speaking at the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) office in Jakarta on Friday March 15.

According to Hamid, who is now the executive director of Amnesty International Indonesia, several legal documents that can be publically accessed can be explored by Komnas HAM as evidence in the Munir case.

"Almost all of the file on Muchdi PR could be developed further", he said.

Not only that, Hamid also believes that Komnas HAM could review the case file on the field actor in the Munir murder, former Garuda Indonesia Airlines pilot Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison for the murder.

Also the former President Director of PT Garuda Indonesia Indra Setiawan who was found guilty of complicity in the murder.

Because a lot of evidence has already been revealed, Hamid believes that Komnas HAM should decide immediately if the case can be classified as a gross human rights violation.

"The preliminary facts are enough, more than enough. Even when the TPF had almost no facts (early) in the [first] three months we were able to find many things, we summoned many people, summoned officials, gathered information, tracked down witnesses", he said.

"In the second three months we could already see who was responsible, including the people who then executed [the murder] or those who planned, and controlled it, even those who initiated it or the masterminds", said Usman.

Earlier, the Komnas HAM summoned Hamid and Munir's wife Suciwati as witnesses in their investigation to determine whether or not the Munir murder case can be categorised as a gross human rights violation.

The examination is a bright spot in hopes for a point of clarity in the Munir murder case since the commission formed the Gross Human Rights Violations Ad Hoc Investigation Team on September 20, 2022.

The ad hoc team is a legacy of the previous Komnas HAM commissioner that is being continued and has now entered the stage of examining witnesses.

The Solidarity Action Committee for Munir (KASUM) believes that the Munir murder case deserves to be declared a gross human rights violation because it involved state officials and was carried out in a structured and systematic manner.

Munir died on September 7, 2004, on Garuda Indonesia flight GA-974 from Jakarta to Amsterdam via Singapore. He died about two hours before the plane landed at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, at 8.10 am local time.

The autopsy results found traces of arsenic in the body of the former chairperson of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras).

Legal proceedings against the people considered to be involved in Munir's murder have already been conducted.

A court handed down a sentence of 14 years in prison for Priyanto and one year in prison for Setiawan, who was considered to have put Priyanto on the same flight as Munir.

A number of facts emerged during the trial citing the alleged involvement of BIN senior officials in the murder, but none were ever found guilty by the courts. On December 13, 2008, a court found Purwoprandjono not guilty and he was released on all charges.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Usman Hamid Sebut Berkas Perkara Muchdi PR Bisa Jadi Bukti Pembunuhan Munir Sebagai Pelanggaran HAM Berat".]